League of Women Voters of the United States Board of Directors

Board Meeting

January 31, 2015

Renaissance Hotel

Washington, DC

Board Present

Elisabeth MacNamara

Toni Larson Ph.D.

Karen Nicholson

Pat Donath

Peggy Appler

Chris Carson

Connie Ferguson

Rosalee Keech


Anita Loch

Anne Schink

Linda Wassenich

Barbara Zia

Staff Present

Nancy Tate

Anisa Tootla

Greg Leatherwood (For finance portion only)

Cyndie Cota

MacNamara called the meeting to order at 9:02 am.


Nicholson moved that minutes of the meetings of the LWVUS Board of Directors of October 25, 2014 be approved as corrected. Seconded. Passed.

Financial Report

Donath moved that financial report of the LWVUS dated December 30, 2014 be accepted and placed on file. Seconded. Passed.

President’s Report

MacNamara reported on her research regarding LWV’s history and how it relates to the upcoming 95th and 100th anniversaries. MacNamara informed the Board that   Mary Fox has stepped down as the Nominating Committee Chair. Rosalee Keech has graciously agreed to continue to serve as a UN Observer, and that will become her Board role.  Anita Loch will now chair the Tech/Outreach Committee. This committee’s name will change to Communications Committee, as well as its responsibility. She thanked Rosalee and Anita for their flexibility and wiliness to change roles.

Executive Director Report

Tate reported on a number of programmatic activities in both the advocacy and the Education Fund areas. Tate has continued to explore the implications of the growing number of people who are not traditional members but respond to action alerts and otherwise interact with the LWVUS electronic media. She has worked with consultant Michelle Molly on messaging strategies related to the 95th and 100th anniversaries. Leagues are encouraged to use the 95th anniversary as a stepping stone for the 100th anniversary. Tate gave praise to Board members Linda Wassenich, Anne Schink and LWV staff member Cyndie Cota for their work on updating the LWV document History by the Decades

Tate met with senior staff at the Kettering Foundation, Sunlight Foundation and Junior League of America to explore possible partnerships, data base sharing and leadership training.


Executive Committee Report

Tate reported that the financial overview shows that LWVUS is in good standing. Cost saving measures were discussed with the Executive Committee including an evaluation of the on-line store. She also announced the Board Retreat will be held on June 22-24, 2015 following Council. 

The following are the remainder 2015 and 2016 Board meeting dates:

Sept 25-27, 2015

Jan 29-31, 2016

April 1-3, 2016


Membership (Strategic Discussion)

Schink discussed with the Board Friday’s presentation on Infogagement by Matt Leighninger and how it relates to the big picture, embracing the future, ways to engage members, and what do we need to do to change our thinking on how members engage with an organization.



Ferguson discussed with the Board what the thick and thin engagement framework can mean for LWV’s concept of membership and the role it plays for LWVUS in membership recruitment. Thin engagement has its advantages in that it offers no guilt membership options for people who appreciate the League and want to engage but aren’t willing to commit the same amount of time as a traditional or thick member might commit. There is a tendency to get hung up between the definitions of members vs. donors vs. volunteers. The primary area MLD can improve is delivering training.


Ferguson reported there is still no formal way for Liaisons to report back on their conversations with states, a summary of the call can be sent to LWVUS staff member Kelly McFarland Stratman.  The Shur Fellows are pleased to be supported by the Board in their MLD calls and very grateful the Board is available as an additional resource in their coaching.

A call will take place on February 5, 2015 to discuss travel to state conventions as well as the types of materials that will be made available to Liaisons for the state conventions.


Appler reviewed the framework for Council 2015, and a key part of the framework will be a presentation by Matt Leighninger about the changing environment in which people engage with organizations.  One goal will be to share the excitement of what LWVUS is seeing in the work it’s doing to engage people beyond membership in issues and activities. Council will look at the benefits to the League’s future viability through understanding some of the new civic engagement trends.

Leagues will be asked to come to Council prepared to work on Action Plans that will incorporate new ways of engaging the public. Before Council this information will be disseminated, through mailings and two webinars. Staff will help Leagues focus their plans.

Organizational Structure

Donath moved that LWVUS Board of Directors accept the Organizational Services Report of Official Actions dated October 25, 2014-Jannaury 30, 2015. Seconded. Passed.

Donath reported the Subcommittee discussed the shift in focus in their work in light of the new conversations being raised about membership, engagement and current structure. The Subcommittee will focus in the short-term on ways to address Leagues that have leadership issues. It is suggested that space be used at National Council to engage state Leagues leaders to help address these challenges.

The Organizational Subcommittee also discussed the policy for Leagues that are in PMP arrears. New language for collecting PMP arrears will be sent to the Governance Committee.

Diversity/Young People

Loch reported that several committee members conducted interviews for the Diversity Board Advisors.  Advisors will be appointed by the next Board meeting in April. The Committee reviewed the 1999 Diversity Toolkit and found it was very similar to themes and elements in the MLD Handbook.

Young People Board Advisors will be recording a podcast discussing “Thick and “Thin “engagement to be distributed publicly and through the Leagues.

Loch discussed with the Board how much ownership states should take over diversity while noting LWVUS can only do so much. LWVUS Board needs to reach out to Leagues who are already recruiting and diversifying organically to get more information.


Carson stated that the Committee discussed the proposed resolution to interpret the Meeting Basic Human Needs Position to include support for a “living wage.” After considerable debate, the Committee agreed to call attention of Leagues to the Meeting Basic Human Needs Position to suggest that the position can be used in communities in “working toward an income that meets basic human needs.” Additionally, the Committee agreed that specific issues in relation to a “living wage” and income levels should be decided by Leagues working in their communities.

Carson moved that LWVUS Board of Directors adopt the legislative priorities for 2015 to be:

Tier I    1. Voting Rights and Election Administration

              2. Money in Politics

Tier II   1. Climate Change

               2. Immigration

               3. Health Care (including reproductive rights)

Seconded. Passed.

Carson moved that LWVUS Board of Directors adopt that the Redistricting Task Force be extended through Convention 2016. Seconded. Passed.

Program Planning/Support

Zia reported that Local Leagues wishing use Concurrence to adopt positions may have to change their by-laws.  Zia also discussed League participation in studies and holding meetings on new positons at Convention, and the possibility of conducting focus groups on participation in studies.


Keech reported that the CRM is going live in May and training is rolling out over the summer beginning with high-end users. There have been a number of questions and concerns about privacy, including the need for birthdates. Keech explained the need for such information and its use for data collection and fundraising messaging.

The April Board meeting might include a demo of the CRM; if not, a webinar will be offered at a later date.


Larson reported that the Committee has been working to update the first sections of the Board Policy Handbook. Larson has made, and will continue to make, grammatical edits. A new title of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines Handbook was agreed upon by the Committee in order to encompass the full scope of the document.

There are several policies to be addressed in the short term:

  • The Long-term Investment Policy
  • The Procurement Policy
  • The Travel Policy
  • The Action Without a Meeting (possible new section)
  • The Conflict of Interest Policy (expand to include the conflict of loyalty verbiage)


Wassenich reported that the Development department had a strong first half of the fiscal year. A discussion took place about employer match gifts and how the shifts in the political climate affects fundraising messaging and online giving. Board members were given a packet containing a list of major donors from their liaison states, stamped notecards and suggested language. They are encouraged to complete their notes upon return home from the Board meeting.


MacNamara adjourned the meeting at 5:00 pm.